Frequently Asked Questions
- How was I selected for Jury Service?
- How long do I have to serve?
- What are the differences between a Trial Jury and a Grand Jury?
- Will I have to report for service each day of my month of service as a Trial Juror?
- Can Trial Jurors serve on more than one trial?
- What happens during jury selection?
- What are the steps of a Jury Trial?
- When will Grand Jurors have to report?
- Can I be excused from jury service because of my occupation?
- What if I have a vacation, medical appointment, etc., during my service month?
- Can jury service place my job in jeopardy?
- Does my employer pay me for work-time lost while on jury service?
- Do I get paid for service?
- Is child care available?
- Where do I report?
- What can I bring to the Courthouse?
- What if I have a disability or special needs?
- Is there a dress code?
- What if I have a medical or family emergency the day of service?
- What is the inclement weather policy?
Maryland’s jury selection law provides that jurors are selected at random from a fair cross section of citizens residing in the County where the Court convenes. This cross section is drawn from a consolidated list of St. Mary's County residents who are registered voters, licensed drivers or identification card holders aged 18 and over, a U.S. citizen, able to read and understand the English language.
TRIAL jurors serve a one-month term and GRAND jurors serve six-month terms.
A Trial Jury listens to evidence in a courtroom and determines the facts in a particular case, usually determining guilt or innocence. A Trial Jury consists of 12 jurors with alternates, if selected, for criminal trials and 6 jurors with alternates, if selected, for civil trials. A Grand Jury receives and hears evidence to determine whether probable cause exists that the accused committed the crime. A Grand Jury consists of 23 jurors.
No. You will determine your reporting status by calling the recorder information line 1-866-SMC-JURY, 1-866-762-5879 or 301-475-3550 after 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday during your month of service beginning the evening prior to the first date of service on your JUROR BADGE.
Yes, it is possible that TRIAL jurors may serve on multiple trials as the term is for one month.
In each instance, the judge will tell you about the case and introduce you to the lawyers and others who are involved in the case. You will take an oath, in which you will promise to answer all questions truthfully.
After you are sworn in, you and the other potential members of the jury will go through voir dire, or jury selection. During jury selection, the judge and the lawyers question you and other members of the panel to find out if you have any knowledge of the case, a personal interest in the outcome, or any interest in the case that might make it hard for you to be impartial. If you are uncomfortable answering a question, tell the judge and you may be allowed to give your response at the bench.
Step 1: Selection of the Jury
Step 2: Opening statements
Step 3: Presentation of the evidence
Step 4: Jury instructions
Step 5: Closing arguments
Step 6: Jury deliberations
Step 7: Announcement of the verdict
Grand Jurors will report on the orientation date listed on the summons and juror badge. Grand Jurors will receive a tentative list of dates to report for service. Dates will also appear on the website.
Occupation-based exemptions that existed in the past have been eliminated in connection with State jury service, except for federal and State legislators and military personnel documented by command as essential. All other eligible citizens are expected to report for jury service. This includes accountants, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and even judges.
All requests to be excused MUST be submitted in writing either with your juror qualification form or no later than two weeks prior to the first date of service indicated on your JUROR BADGE. Please include your service month and reporting number on any correspondence. You will be notified as to whether or not your request has been granted.
An employer may not deprive an employee of his/her employment solely because of job time lost by the employee as a result of responding to a jury summons or as a result of attending court for service or prospective service as a trial or grand juror. Upon request, written verification will be provided for days you appear as a juror.
Employers are not obligated to pay employees while on jury service. Many county, state, and federal agencies pay their employees or provide administrative leave.
During your period of service, you will be paid the sum of $15 per day for attendance. If you choose not to receive payment for jury service, you may consider participating in the Generous Juror Program.
There are no provisions for child care. Children are NOT to be brought to Court with you. Instances where prospective jurors appear with children will result in arrangements being made for their care by the Department of Social Services or other foster-care services, at the juror’s personal expense.
Circuit Court for St. Mary's County, 41605 Courthouse Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Please use the main front door entrance to the Courthouse and let the security personnel know that you are reporting for jury service. The security personnel will instruct you where to report. Please check the recorder information line or website after 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to be certain that you are scheduled to appear.
NO weapons of ANY kind are permitted on the premises of the Courthouse. Possession and use of cell phones and other electronic devices are limited or prohibited in designated areas of the Courthouse. NO food or drink is permitted. If you have a medical condition requiring the intake of food and/or drink on a regular basis, please request this accommodation from the jury commissioner at least two weeks prior to your first scheduled date of service.
Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities should be requested by contacting the jury commissioner at 301-475-7844 Ext. 4560 or 4566, at least two weeks prior to your first scheduled date of service. The Courthouse is equipped with an elevator, and there are several handicapped parking spaces available beside the Courthouse.
Proper attire is required– NO UNIFORMS, SHORTS, CUT-OFF JEANS, T-SHIRTS WITH LOGOS, TANK OR HALTER TOPS, GYM CLOTHES, PAJAMAS, OR HATS (EXCEPT FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES). A violation of this dress code that causes disruption to the court proceedings may result in an extension of your service term or other sanction.
In order to be excused from reporting for service, appropriate documentation of the emergency will need to be provided within a time frame to be determined by the jury commissioner. Please call the jury commissioner at 301-475-7844 Ext. 4567, 4566 or 4560 (leave a message if there is no one available to answer your call). The jury commissioner will instruct you as to the type of documentation that will be required.
In the event of inclement weather please call the information line 301-475-7844 Ext. 4656 or visit http://mdcourts.gov/administration/closingsdelays.html the morning you are scheduled to appear for weather-related updates. If the information has not changed, report as scheduled.